Tnuva reduces price of cottage cheese

Food giant praises consumer power in uproar over dairy costs, pledges to hold reduced price until at least year's end; Strauss, Tara follow suit.

cottage cheese 311 R (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
cottage cheese 311 R
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In an apparent victory for the consumer boycott of cottage cheese, food industry giant Tnuva announced Wednesday afternoon that it will reduce the wholesale price of a 250- gram tub of cottage cheese from NIS 5.20 to NIS 4.55, a move it says will bring the recommended retail price down to NIS 5.90.
The company promised not to raise prices again until at least the end of the year.
Ministry proposes one-year freeze on cottage cheese price
Editor's Notes: The great cottage cheese uprising
“Israeli consumers have said what they have to say and have demonstrated their ability to bring about unprecedented change in this country,” chairwoman Zehavit Cohen and CEO Arik Shor said in a press release.
Tnuva was one of three cottage cheese manufacturers, along with Strauss and Tara, targeted by a consumer boycott launched two weeks ago that has had the support of more than 100,000 Facebook users. The campaign used the price of cottage cheese – which then stood at NIS 8 per tub – as an example of the rising price Israelis are paying for their food.
“We were surprised by the magnitude of the public’s emotional involvement regarding Tnuva and cottage cheese,” Shor said. “We understand that cottage cheese symbolizes the Israeli public’s struggle and its frustration over the cost of living and the increase in food prices. This is a worldwide phenomenon and we are keeping informed of attempts to restrain rising food prices around the world.
“Because of the disproportionate rise in the cost of raw materials in Israel and the entire world, new tools are required on the part of all sides to ensure that the public is not harmed by the cost of food. Just as other countries are dealing with the unpreventable increase in food costs, Israel also must find a solution to a problem that is likely only to worsen in the coming years.”
Shor added, “Since the protest erupted we have said that if all the links in the chain [dairy farmers, milk production plants, retail chains and the state] do their bit, it will be possible to bring down the price of cottage cheese. We call on the dairy farmers and the state, and on all the chains that still have not reduced the price, to do their part so that the price of cottage cheese will stand at NIS 5.90 in the long term.”
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon said earlier Wednesday that he supported a proposal by Manufacturers Association president Shraga Brosh to reduce the value added tax on food products at the beginning of 2012.
Simhon, who was speaking at a conference hosted by the association in Tel Aviv, said, “We must implement a reduction in VAT on food items and other essential products such as medicine.”
The tax on such items could be reduced by at least 50 percent, “which would aid the weaker segments of the population and senior citizens,” he said.
Simhon also told the conference that a special committee established under his ministry’s director-general, Sharon Kedmi, must be given time to come up with a proper plan that will have an impact on the cost of food, and more specifically on dairy products.
In Simhon’s opinion, the cost of dairy items could be reduced by 7%-10%.